"MPA Tip" is a recurring feature in MPA News that presents advice on planning and management gathered from various publications on protected areas. The purpose is two-fold: to provide useful guidance to practitioners, and to serve as a reminder of valuable literature from past years.
A summit meeting this month in Washington, DC (USA), is intended to set priorities and future directions for global MPA management. The meeting on 10-12 April will bring together members of the marine program of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA - Marine) to agree on a plan to support and partner with existing MPA initiatives worldwide.
The UK Government released a White Paper on 15 March that sets out an integrated suite of proposals for a new holistic approach to managing the nation's marine activities. The document, titled A Sea Change: A Marine Bill White Paper, proposes introduction of a marine planning system for UK waters, a new mechanism for protecting natural resources through marine protected areas, and other measures. It is intended to help achieve the Government's vision of "clean, healthy, safe, productive, and biologically diverse oceans and seas."
Editor's note: Anne Walton is coordinator of the International MPA Management Capacity Building Program, managed by the (US) National Marine Sanctuary Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
By Anne Walton
Three new publications offer expertise on the subjects of protected area management and/or coastal management:
Managing Protected Areas: A Global Guide
Edited by Michael Lockwood, Graeme L. Worboys, and Ashish Kothari. Published by IUCN, 2006.
Canada designates Musquash Estuary as MPA
A new Canadian project - the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) - will use a sea-bottom network of acoustic receivers to track fish movement and the ocean's physical changes. Project leader Ron O'Dor says the project could transform conservation and fisheries management, particularly for highly mobile species. "OTN will provide a thousand times more information on where marine animals go and where they die," he says.
One commonly held belief on no-take marine reserves is that although they can be effective in protecting relatively stationary organisms, they are ineffective for highly mobile ones. Oceanic species - including tunas, billfishes, sea turtles, cetaceans, and sea birds - often range over thousands of kilometers in their lifetimes, crossing into and out of protected areas along their seasonal migrations. When outside of the protected areas, they are exposed to fishing impacts, either as the targeted species or as bycatch.
Last month's MPA News examined how practitioners are using a variety of approaches to educate MPA stakeholders and build public support for conservation. Among the most powerful educational tools can be the protected area itself. The experience of visiting an MPA and seeing first-hand the benefits of conservation has the potential to deliver a strong, memorable education message - stronger than any brochures or other media could deliver.